Exemption for Certain Athletes from Coronavirus Entry Restrictions

by Alexander J. Segal on Jul. 06, 2020

Immigration Immigration  Deportation Immigration  Visa 

Summary: On May 22, 2020, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, created a special exemption for certain professional athletes and other personnel from several Presidential Proclamations restricting entry due to the threat of the novel coronavirus.

immigration attorney nycOn May 22, 2020, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, created a special exemption for certain professional athletes and other personnel from several Presidential Proclamations restricting entry due to the threat of the novel coronavirus [PDF version]. President Donald Trump restricted entry of individuals who were present in the People's Republic of China [see article], Iran, and the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland [see article] during the 14 days immediately preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. Among the myriad exceptions from the restrictions in each order is a special provision providing that the order does not apply “for any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.”

Secretary Wolf determined that it is in the national interest to exempt “aliens who compete in professional sporting events organized by certain professional sporting groups, including their professional staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents.” Although the memorandum does not limit its scope, Secretary Wolf expressly noted that he will work with professional sporting groups including the MLB, NBA, PGA Tour, NHL, ATP, and WTA. He noted that the order does not exempt individuals who may benefit from inspection by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or any other agency requirements. Furthermore, he added that he may narrow the scope of the exemption if he deems it necessary.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) advises professional athletes, essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents who believe that they may qualify for an exemption to ask their athletic league representative to contact the DHS for more information [PDF version].

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